We were lucky enough to attend the first brightonSEO conference of 2023, and it didn’t disappoint. BrightonSEO is the world’s biggest search engine optimisation conference, a chance for search marketers to gather, meet, learn and share best practices. And best of all, it’s in our very own hometown, a few streets away from our central Brighton offices!
This year, the talks were bigger and better than ever before and there was much to discuss. With so many algorithm updates from Google and of course, the latest AI releases causing a stir among the entire marketing community, the talks addressed the big questions around search right now.
But don’t worry, to avoid your risk of #FOMO, we’ve rounded up the key learnings from this year’s event, and have summarised exactly what you need to know.
- TikTok is NOT the new Google – but it IS a powerful search tool
With 1 billion active users and ever-increasing functionality, it’s no wonder people are searching TikTok to answer their burning questions. And, in fairness, TikTok and Google have a lot in common. Both have powerful search functionality and a similar prioritisation of content that recommends the most appropriate content to people that best fits their search query.
In many ways, TikTok is a superior search console than Google. As Rachel Pearson noted, people recall 90% of information when it’s shown in video form as opposed to text and therefore can get super quick answers to the questions that stick in their minds.
However, as much as TikTok has in common with Google, its search bar can only search content that has been uploaded to the app, therefore relying on its users to fill the gaps. This means that if no one has covered a certain topic or answered that query in particular in their videos, a person will likely turn to Google for a more in-depth search of its 64 zerabytes of data on the internet…
…yup, you heard right… zettabytes 🤯 (you betcha we googled that stat and swiftly after the meaning of zettabytes).
Also, even though TikToks have begun to appear in search results as answers to queries, the videos are merely indexed with Google as a webpage would be, rather than being embedded content, such as YouTube videos (which are usually prioritised and easier to view due to its Google-owned status).
- The psychology of search: making your content stand out
When writing keyword-rich content to get your webpage ranking highly in search results, it’s tempting to cram the article full of nice nuggets of information the Google bots will love to have a munch on while they crawl your site. But it’s easy to forget the human typing in the search query that wants the quickest, easiest to digest and best quality information to answer their question or solve their problem.
Therefore, before you even begin writing your content, it’s worth considering not only who your audience is and what you’re trying to convey to them, but also what questions your content answers or the problem it solves for the end user. What questions are they typing in to find your page? Use these questions as the subtitles in your content and use simple, easy-to-digest bullet points or numbers to format the response – Google prefers this type of format as it can read this easily as answering the search query.
Talking about answering the user’s questions and making your content as useful as possible, have you considered FAQs? FAQs are a great way to show Google that you’re answering the user’s query but also to make your content as informative as you can. By framing all possible questions related to the topic, you’re increasing your chances of being ranked highly.
- AI, GA4 and the Future of SEO
There was a recurring theme at brightonSEO this year, the rise of AI in SEO. It seems you can’t talk about many things to do with search, copywriting or marketing in general without bringing up the impeding fear of our AI overlords taking over…
Okay, maybe its not that serious, but AI is having an impact on the SEO industry, as keynote speaker Areej AbuAli said; we’re in the ‘digital gold rush’ era and everyone wants a piece of the shiny new AI.
However, there was one overriding opinion from the experts throughout the day – AI is a friend, not a foe, and it’s either evolve or get left behind as AI is here to stay. AI tools will help us to work more efficiently when used correctly and open doors to new service offerings to support teams.
On new tech that’s here to stay, it’s nearly time to wave goodbye to Universal Analytics and welcome a new era as Google makes the switch to GA4 automatically in June. And the general consensus is – experts welcome this change. Yes, it may require some initial investment of time and resources in setting up reports and tracking in your new dashboards. However, the next-level capabilities for tracking GA4 now offer promises that’ll be very worth it.
With custom funnel reports, machine learning identifying patterns in data, cross-device tracking and a privacy-centric design – it’s time to bow down to the Google Gods and convert to the word of the GA4. The more you put in, the more GA4 will give.
So, what does all this mean for the future of SEO? Firstly, the competition for SEO ranking is more fierce than ever before. Therefore, investment in SEO is expected to grow for businesses. Secondly, Google will stop being seen as a search engine, and begin to be seen as an answer engine, with content value being ever more prominent than quantity.
Does your website rank for your keywords? Are you getting enough organic and paid visitors to your site? We can help. Get in touch with our team of SEO and conversion experts who can help you achieve your business goals.